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BMW introduces "microtransactions"


Mori

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I suppose many have already heard the awesome news from fellow German car manufacturer BMW. You can now buy a monthly subscription for "front seat heating", "high beam assist", "map update package" (I like this the most) and many other perks.

 

https://www.theverge.com/2022/7/12/23204950/bmw-subscriptions-microtransactions-heated-seats-feature

 

"BMW is now selling subscriptions for heated seats in a number of countries — the latest example of the company’s adoption of microtransactions for high-end car features.

A monthly subscription to heat your BMW’s front seats costs roughly $18, with options to subscribe for a year ($180), three years ($300), or pay for “unlimited” access for $415."

 

The article also states that BMW started introducing features behind subscriptions since 2020. I was not aware of that but if that is the case I am surprised it only received attention now.

 

Would love to hear what you guys think about it, have you been aware of these practices already? Has this become a thing in other fields as well? Personally, I could not believe it when I first saw it.

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8 minutes ago, Mori said:

The article also states that BMW started introducing features behind subscriptions since 2020. I was not aware of that but if that is the case I am surprised it only received attention now.

 

Would love to hear what you guys think about it, have you been aware of these practices already? Has this become a thing in other fields as well? Personally, I could not believe it when I first saw it.

 

Some cars tested remote start function that only worked through the app with a subscription to their service around 2017/2018. It's just starting to expand now.

 

Map updates I partially understand. Those of us who were around for the GPS device boom are very familiar with how quickly maps were updating and how a device with maps just a year or two old could really mess up your day. Smartphone map apps have spoiled us since then. CarPlay/Android Auto make paying a subscription for updated maps irrelevant.

I think the whole thing is absurd, but then again car pricing in general these days is completely absurd as well. But at the same time it's just a car, let people who want to spend their money on subscriptions for the luxuries like heated seats do so. There are mandated safety features for cars that will never legally be put behind subscription walls and for everything else have at it. It's peoples responsibilities to be informed consumers.

 

Give enough people time, they'll find a way around most of these inconveniences.

 

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At least there is a good bit of backlash over this "greedy and exploitative" move. BMW has acknowledged it.

https://www.bmwusanews.com/newsrelease.do?id=3997&mid=

 

They've caught flack before over Apple Car Play which used to be $80 per month in the US. Now it has become a standard feature in most of their cars. If you order a BMW in the US with something extra like heated seats, that feature will function for the life of the vehicle. The only ConnectedDrive Functions on Demand in the US are Remote Start and Drive Recorder, but I think for what you pay for a BMW, you deserve to have them at no extra cost.

 

Microtransactions can go jump in The Lake, along with NFTs. Let's hope BMW doesn't expand their extra cost FODs in the US.

 

 

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I was never a BMW person. My whole family drive BMW including my brother who is in his 20s and bought an old second BMW as his first car. Where I live, there's also tons of them on the roads. I drive a Toyota and out of all of us, I'm the only one who has never had a single breakdown or problem with my car. While all my family members have taken their BMWs to the garage multiple times over the years despite their cars being newer than mine, I just see them as unreliable. I like the reliability of Japanese cars. I think if I were to get a luxe car, I would probably go for a Mercedes or Lexus

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Sounds like exaggerated outrage clickbait. They are implementing this for some of their high end models. If someone can afford to buy a 150k car they won't care about having to pay 18 bucks a month for a sub. They can also buy features without subscribing by paying a couple hundred more. Or don't buy it at all if they don't need it. It's funny how everyone hates on BMW with some people calling it the scummiest car manufacturer in the world, some brainlets even saying they should be shut down. But at the same time everyone already forgot the Volkswagen/Audi fraud where they manipulated emission data for 11 million cars and I've seen redditors gush over electric VWs while bashing Tesla's because "Musk bad". People have short memories these days and like to get angry at things.

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Oh, Dieselgate. That is something far worse. Volkswagen Group set cars' systems to pass emissions testing in lab settings, but not everyday use. What they did raised hell with the environment by causing higher NO and NO2 levels. Dangerous.

 

Back to BMW for a bit. I don't have any hate for them, nor do I want them to get shut down. BMW just deserve a little tsk-tsk. If enough people object (preferably in a civil manner), it's possible they can backpedal. I'm sure the inbuilt hardware required to use a certain feature is a factor in the car's price, even if you don't choose to pay the extra to use it, leaving it lay dormant. Nothing costs nothing.

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